A Poem for Father’s Day — Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”

Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays”–

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

3 thoughts on “A Poem for Father’s Day — Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays””

  1. I copied out this poem by hand back in the 1960s and gave it to my father for Father’s Day. I don’t know where I might have found it–I was an 11- or 12-year-old girl living on a farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania–but I’ve never forgotten how perfectly apt it seemed to me as a gift for that day, nor the tears in my father’s eyes when he read it.


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